(Archive - Week of October 2, 2004)
Bush could not qualify to be
Most Americans know the father of our country and our first president was George W... aka George Washington, and General George Washington was responsible for giving us our independence. What a difference a couple of centuries make! It was only four years ago when five rightwing, conservative Republican justices of the US Supreme Court appointed the present George W... aka George W. Bush, the President of the United States. With his four years in office our nation has gone back to a time where hard working Americans are unable to find jobs to make ends meet for their families. He has brought our country into bankruptcy and more than a thousand have been killed in George W. Bush Iraq War. He did NOT attend any of their funerals. George W. Bush will be remembered in history as the worst president - even worse than Herbert Hoover, who was in office when the Great Depression started and lasted a decade, but he did not declare war on innocent nations like Iraq. He left office with a lot of starving Americans, but he had no blood on his hands as Bush has. What we need is another JFK. That is J ohn F . K erry. We can have him for the asking with your vote on November 2. That is only a month away and we can keep President Kerry until 2011. The follow is what Nicholas D. Kristof said about the fearless leader George W. Bush on Sept. 8:
Plenty of other officers have said they also don't recall that Mr. Bush ever showed up for drills at the base. What's different about Mr. Mintz is that he remembers actively looking for Mr. Bush and never finding him.
Mr. Mintz says he had heard that Mr. Bush - described as a young Texas pilot with political influence - had transferred to the base. He heard that Mr. Bush was also a bachelor, so he was looking forward to partying together. He's confident that he'd remember if Mr. Bush had shown up.
"I'm sure I would have seen him," Mr. Mintz said yesterday. "It's a small unit, and you couldn't go in or out without being seen. It was too close a space." There were only 25 to 30 pilots there, and Mr. Bush - a U.N. ambassador's son who had dated Tricia Nixon - would have been particularly memorable.
I've steered clear until now of how Mr. Bush evaded service in Vietnam because I thought other issues were more important. But if Bush supporters attack John Kerry for his conduct after he volunteered for dangerous duty in Vietnam, it's only fair to scrutinize Mr. Bush's behavior.
It's not a pretty sight. Mr. Bush was saved from active duty, and perhaps Vietnam, only after the speaker of the Texas House intervened for him because of his family's influence.
Mr. Bush signed up in May 1968 for a six-year commitment, justifying the $1 million investment in training him as a pilot. But after less than two years, Mr. Bush abruptly stopped flying, didn't show up for his physical and asked to transfer to Alabama. He never again flew a military plane.
Mr. Bush insists that after moving to Alabama in 1972, he served out his obligation at Dannelly Air National Guard Base in Montgomery (although he says he doesn't remember what he did there). The only officer there who recalls Mr. Bush was produced by the White House - he remembers Mr. Bush vividly, but at times when even Mr. Bush acknowledges he wasn't there.
In contrast, Mr. Mintz is a compelling witness. Describing himself as "a very strong military man," he served in the military from 1959 to 1984. A commercial pilot, he is now a Democrat but was a Republican for most of his life, and he is not a Bush-hater. When I asked him whether the National Guard controversy raises questions about Mr. Bush's credibility, Mr. Mintz said only, "That's up to the American people to decide."
In his first interview with a national news organization, Mr. Mintz recalled why he remembered Mr. Bush as a no-show: "Young bachelors were kind of sparse. For that reason, I was looking for someone to haul around with." Why speak out now? He said, "After a lot of soul-searching, I just feel it's my duty to stand up and do the right thing."
Another particularly credible witness is Leonard Walls, a retired Air Force colonel who was then a full-time pilot instructor at the base. "I was there pretty much every day," he said, adding: "I never saw him, and I was there continually from July 1972 to July 1974." Mr. Walls, who describes himself as nonpolitical, added, "If he had been there more than once, I would have seen him."
The sheer volume of missing documents, and missing recollections, strongly suggests to me that Mr. Bush blew off his Guard obligations. It's not fair to say Mr. Bush deserted. My sense is that he (like some others at the time) neglected his National Guard obligations, did the bare minimum to avoid serious trouble and was finally let off by commanders who considered him a headache but felt it wasn't worth the hassle to punish him.
"The record clearly and convincingly proves he did not fulfill the obligations he incurred when he enlisted in the Air National Guard," writes Gerald Lechliter, a retired Army colonel who has made the most meticulous examination I've seen of Mr. Bush's records (I've posted the full 32-page analysis here ). Mr. Lechliter adds that Mr. Bush received unauthorized or fraudulent payments that breached National Guard rules, according to the documents that the White House itself released.
Does this disqualify Mr. Bush from being commander in chief? No. But it should disqualify the Bush campaign from sliming the military service of a rival who still carries shrapnel from Vietnam in his thigh.By Howard Kurtz
Kitty Kelley's volume on the Bush family won't be published until next week, but the White House communications director yesterday dismissed the book as "garbage" and a Republican National Committee spokeswoman said journalists should treat it as "fiction." With the author booked for numerous television interviews -- including three straight mornings on NBC's "Today," starting Monday -- "The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty" is certain to generate media attention in the heat of a presidential campaign.
Peter Gethers, vice president of Random House and Kelley's editor, said the publisher's chief counsel and Kelley's own lawyer went over the book "with a fine-toothed comb."
"It was as extensive a legal read as a publisher could give," Gethers said. "Some things didn't make it, and we're 100 percent confident of the things that made it in. We erred on the side of caution because we knew how hard she was going to be hit."
Gethers confirmed the accuracy of a report in London's the Mail on Sunday, which said the book contains, among other things, allegations of past drug use by President Bush. One of the sources quoted on that subject is Bush's former sister-in-law, Sharon Bush, who had a bitter divorce from the president's brother Neil.
Gethers said Sharon Bush provided "confirmation" to the author but was not the initial source of the allegations. "Just because an ex-wife says it doesn't mean it's not true," he said.
During the 2000 campaign, Bush repeatedly declined to address questions about possible past drug use, saying only that he had made "mistakes" when he was "young and irresponsible." He said he had not used illegal drugs since 1974 but refused to say whether he had tried them earlier. "Enough is enough when it comes to trying to dig up people's backgrounds in politics," Bush said in 1999.
During the same period, St. Martin's Press withdrew a book that alleged Bush had been arrested on cocaine charges in 1972 after learning that the author had spent time in prison in a car-bombing case. The publisher's editor in chief later resigned.
The Mail story has triggered a wave of radio and Internet chatter about Kelley's book, from the online Drudge Report to Howard Stern's radio show. Random House's Doubleday unit has ordered an initial printing of 750,000, and Kelley is scheduled to be interviewed by MSNBC's Chris Matthews and radio host Don Imus, among others.
Fox News Vice President Bill Shine said his star host, Bill O'Reilly, would likely interview Kelley but that "right now we're going to wait and see what's in the book."
ABC spokesman Jeffrey Schneider said the book "obviously would be subjected to serious scrutiny" before the network reported the allegations, "and if we had the author on we would ask her very probing questions." CBS has not booked Kelley. She is tentatively scheduled to appear on CNN's "American Morning" and "NewsNight With Aaron Brown."
NBC spokeswoman Allison Gollust described Kelley's scheduled sit-down with Matt Lauer as "a very competitive interview that all the morning shows were after. And as we do with all of our interview subjects, we'll review the material beforehand and ask all the appropriate questions."
The book did not pass muster at Newsweek, however. Editor Mark Whitaker said his magazine was given an advance copy for a possible story "and we passed. We weren't comfortable with a lot of the reporting. We will write about it if it becomes a phenomenon and looks like it will have some impact on the campaign debate, not to further publicize the reporting in it."
Whitaker said he learned late yesterday that one of his reporters, without his approval, had signed a confidentiality agreement for the advance look at the book. The agreement, he said, would have barred Newsweek from pursuing the allegations without Doubleday's permission. "The publisher was trying to constrain us in any independent reporting we could do on the book, and that's not a condition I or our lawyers would ever agree to," Whitaker said.
Doubleday publicity director David Drake confirmed that the document said "the magazine would agree not to contact any third party to verify information contained in the book without our prior agreement," but said that Newsweek never made such a request. The magazine signaled its intention to go ahead with a piece for Monday, Drake said, and "we have yet to hear from anyone at Newsweek that the magazine reversed its decision. One can't help but speculate that the magazine is bowing to pressure from the White House," although Drake acknowledged he had no evidence of that.
Time Managing Editor Jim Kelly said he had not gotten an advance look at the book but "you obviously would have to fact-check the hell out of it." Excerpting a book "by Kitty Kelley is a problematic proposition," he said. Doubleday says it never offered first serial rights to keep the book's contents from leaking out.
A call to Kelley's Washington home was returned by her publicist, Marina Ein, who said she was unavailable yesterday.
Kelley has written extensively researched, gossip-filled books on the British royal family -- which are packed with disputed details about their sexual practices -- Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. But none generated a bigger furor than her 1991 biography of Nancy Reagan.
The New York Times, which obtained an advance copy, gave the book front-page display, saying it "could forever shatter" the Reagan myth through "allegations of scandalous sexual behavior" by the "woman who ruled the White House with a Gucci-clad fist." Max Frankel, then the paper's editor, said later that the story had been a mistake, and detractors accused the Times and other news outlets of retailing unconfirmed allegations.
RNC spokeswoman Christine Iverson cited that book in saying: "This is the same author who falsely maligned the late president Ronald Reagan as a date rapist who paid for a girlfriend's abortion and wrongly cast Nancy Reagan as an adulterer who had an affair with Frank Sinatra. The media blasted her on the Reagan book and ridiculed her over her book on the royal family as unsubstantiated gossip and rumor."
White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett said yesterday: "Kitty Kelley's allegations make Michael Moore look like a factual documentarian. We're not going to let this garbage she's historically known for spreading go unanswered." He said it would "violate journalistic standards" for news executives to "put this type of trash in their newspapers and on their airwaves." White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan added that the drug allegations were "discredited, dismissed and disavowed years ago."
Gethers said Kelley used more unnamed sources in the book than she generally does, but that this doesn't diminish its credibility.
"We either know who the sources are or are extremely confident from what Kitty said that they're genuine," he said. "People are very afraid to go on the record for this book. Kitty is a fearless reporter; even her detractors would acknowledge that. But she's tackling a sitting president of the United States and ex-president of the United States." Potential sources, he said, "are afraid that these people can literally ruin their lives, and ruin them socially in Washington."George Washington
On April 30, 1789, George Washington, standing on the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York, took his oath of office as the first President of the United States. "As the first of every thing, in our situation will serve to establish a Precedent," he wrote James Madison, "it is devoutly wished on my part, that these precedents may be fixed on true principles."
Born in 1732 into a Virginia planter family, he learned the morals, manners, and body of knowledge requisite for an 18th century Virginia gentleman.
He pursued two intertwined interests: military arts and western expansion. At 16 he helped survey Shenandoah lands for Thomas, Lord Fairfax. Commissioned a lieutenant colonel in 1754, he fought the first skirmishes of what grew into the French and Indian War. The next year, as an aide to Gen. Edward Braddock, he escaped injury although four bullets ripped his coat and two horses were shot from under him.
From 1759 to the outbreak of the American Revolution, Washington managed his lands around Mount Vernon and served in the Virginia House of Burgesses. Married to a widow, Martha Dandridge Custis, he devoted himself to a busy and happy life. But like his fellow planters, Washington felt himself exploited by British merchants and hampered by British regulations. As the quarrel with the mother country grew acute, he moderately but firmly voiced his resistance to the restrictions.
When the Second Continental Congress assembled in Philadelphia in May 1775, Washington, one of the Virginia delegates, was elected Commander in Chief of the Continental Army. On July 3, 1775, at Cambridge, Massachusetts, he took command of his ill-trained troops and embarked upon a war that was to last six grueling years.
He realized early that the best strategy was to harass the British. He reported to Congress, "we should on all Occasions avoid a general Action, or put anything to the Risque, unless compelled by a necessity, into which we ought never to be drawn." Ensuing battles saw him fall back slowly, then strike unexpectedly. Finally in 1781 with the aid of French allies--he forced the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown.
Washington longed to retire to his fields at Mount Vernon. But he soon realized that the Nation under its Articles of Confederation was not functioning well, so he became a prime mover in the steps leading to the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia in 1787. When the new Constitution was ratified, the Electoral College unanimously elected Washington President
He did not infringe upon the policy making powers that he felt the Constitution gave Congress. But the determination of foreign policy became preponderantly a Presidential concern. When the French Revolution led to a major war between France and England, Washington refused to accept entirely the recommendations of either his Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, who was pro-French, or his Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, who was pro-British. Rather, he insisted upon a neutral course until the United States could grow stronger.
To his disappointment, two parties were developing by the end of his first term. Wearied of politics, feeling old, he retired at the end of his second. In his Farewell Address, he urged his countrymen to forswear excessive party spirit and geographical distinctions. In foreign affairs, he warned against long-term alliances.
Washington enjoyed less than three years of retirement at Mount Vernon, for he died of a throat infection December 14, 1799. For months the Nation mourned him.
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NOVEMBER, FOUR YEARS AGO
Presidential candidate George W. Bush, with help from his brother, Florida Governor Jeb Bush, plus the political outrageous wrong ruling of five conservative Republican justices of the US Supreme Court, managed to deny some Florida voters their votes and caused d emocracy to fail. I am still living in Florida , but I have no respect for the Republicans in Florida 's government who rule the roost their way. And for the five justices of the US Supreme Court, who refused to sign their ruling, and are still hanging around - hopefully, I will not be invited to their funerals.
In seven weeks the state of Florida has experienced four major hurricanes and the disaster is worse than 9-11-01. We now have about 30 days before the General Election. If George W. Bush does not order the Republican political control of Florida government to get all the polling places ready for voting by Nov. 2, Sen. John Kerry wont have a chance of winning in Florida . I will bet my farm and best Tennessee mule that George W. Bush will continue to play games, kick back, ignore the issue, and not make any effort in this regard of allowing all voters to vote and have their votes counted for the person(s) or party of their choice.
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